Free Shipping within the U.S. for orders over $70 - FREE RETURNS

The Journal

Satchel vs Tote

When it comes to choosing a bag, there are many options to choose from. But among the many types of bags available, the two that seem to be the most popular option when it comes to making eco-friendly fashion choices are the satchel and tote. While this particular feature of theirs may be similar to one another, both are very different from each other. 

Let's explore exactly how, first with a brief comparison chart and then a further elaboration on these points for a better understanding.





Traditionally made of leather but can be found in other durable materials too

Usually made out of cloth or some other lightweight material

Carrying Style

Commonly worn across the body with a strap that goes over one shoulder allowing the pouch to rest on the opposite side of the body

Has single straps at either end of the bag, which can be used as handles to carry by hand or slung over the shoulder


Satchels are often seen as professional bags

Totes are often seen as casual functional bags

Function/ Purpose

Are typically smaller and more compact, in a defined stiff form, perfect for safely carrying important documents or a laptop.

Are typically more spacious without being bound by a particular stiff form, perfect for carrying books or groceries


What is a Satchel?


satchel bag


A satchel is a type of bag with a long strap that goes over the shoulder and a flap covering the vertically large bag to keep the contents inside secure. The satchel is a professional and classy-looking bag that is perfect for carrying important items inside securely, without hindering your movement or easy access to it.

What is a Tote?


mini tote handbag


A tote is a very casual bag that does not have a flap or zip. It is usually open from above with sometimes a small button in the middle to close it a bit. This type of bag is quite large in size and typically has two straps that are used to carry it by hand or over the shoulder. A tote is a perfect accessory to take with you when shopping as its open mouth provides easy access to the large space where you can constantly keep adding your purchases while buying. 

Satchel vs Tote Material Differences

Satchels are traditionally made out of leather, but they can also be made out of other durable materials, such as canvas, cotton, synthetic leather or faux leather. Totes are typically made out of lighter materials such as cloth, nylon, jute or cotton. 

Satchel vs Tote Carrying Style Difference

A tote’s single handles at each end of the bag are used to either carry it by hand, drape over the shoulder or hang on a hook. While a satchel is worn diagonally over the upper torso. When carrying the bags on your shoulder, the satchel rests lower on one’s form than where a tote would.

Satchel vs Tote Image Differences

Satchels are often seen as professional bags. They have a very sleek and classy look. Totes, on the other hand, are often seen as casual errand bags. They often have a more natural look and an easy-going look about them.

Satchel vs Tote Function / Purpose Differences

Satchels are typically smaller and more defined in shape, which helps with keeping your possessions inside safe. With satchels being more in length than width, it is perfect for carrying tall items. Totes, on the other hand, come in all shapes and sizes and tend to be less structured, easily able to accommodate most things in all kinds of forms. Totes are usually larger, meaning they can carry more which makes them perfect for carrying books or groceries. Satchels are smaller and more compact, which prevents them from being able to offer as much versatility as a tote. 


Though the satchel and tote have some similarities, such as being easy to carry and having a strap, they are very different from each other in regards to material, carrying style and appearance. 

When empty, a tote can usually be folded and carried around in another smaller fancier bag, available to be utilized when a large bag with extra space is needed. 

However when it comes to how secure your possessions are in either bag. The satchel wins as it has a flap over the opening and is made of thicker materials. So if security is important to you, then the satchel would be the better. 

Ultimately what matters is the purpose you need the bag for and where you plan to use it.

If you liked this article about satchel vs tote, consider checking out our other articles below --